Jay Ong, head of Marvel Games, has revealed that both Microsoft and Sony Interactive Entertainment were approached in 2014 to do Marvel licensed games but Xbox passed as it wanted to focus on its own IP. Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Adam Boyes, John Drake, Connie Booth and Scott Rohde returned to Ong with a bid to make a AAA Spider-Man game, which was later handed over to Insomniac Games.
Ong also revealed that Marvel approached Activision Blizzard to end their contract for Spider-Man early as the IP needed “new talent, a bigger budget, and fresh eyes”. A “mutually beneficial deal” was agreed and the two parted ways. Ong claims that Activision was interested in what Marvel was going to with the IP, which he said he would “find a better home for it” to which Activision Blizzard replied, “Good luck finding your unicorn.”.
The main reason for Ong shopping around for publishing partners for licensed games is that Marvel wanted to know why its IP wasn’t as successful in the interactive medium as it was in movies and TV. Ong’s solution was to find publishers that did not adopt the “crappy licensed games” mentality.
Since partnering with Marvel Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment has gone on to release Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Insomniac Games is also working on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Marvel’s Wolverine, both of which are in development for the PlayStation 5.